When Allied Armies burst into the interior of Germany, they are
likely to encounter units rarely if ever engaged before. These will be
units of the so-called Replacement Army—troops who may be thrown
in with regular first-class divisions for a last-ditch defense of what
Adolf Hitler has called "holy German soil."
In whatever battles may occur between the Siegfried Line in the
west and the fortifications of the Oder Quadrilateral in the east, the
Replacement Army and semimilitary organizations will form part of
the core of resistance. These secondary troops may be encountered
either as units or as replacements within regular army units. Some
of them will have little more value than guerrillas and snipers. Some
units may display superior combat effectiveness. Some groups, long
indoctrinated in Nazi Party philosophy, may fight an underground
war with fanatical zeal. To a large extent, however, the replacement
troops and semimilitary formations, judged by military standards,
will be inferior and will fall into three categories: the physically fit,
the too young, and the too old.
Most units and men of the German Army regularly stationed in
the German zone of the interior are part of the Replacement Army
(Ersatzheer). This comprises the organizations responsible for the
conscription of personnel, training of replacements, procurement of
equipment, and administration of permanent military posts and
installations within Germany.
There are three general types of replacement and training units:
1. Replacement units (Ersatzeinheiten).
2. Training units (Ausbildungseinheiten), which are called reserve
units (Reserveeinheiten) when they are controlled by reserve divisions
in occupied territory.
3. Combined replacement and training units (Ersatz- und Ausbildungseinheiten).
Replacement units are concerned only with receiving recruits from
conscription offices, issuing them their personal equipment and their
pay-books, and sending them on as speedily as possible to training
units; with receiving convalescents and sending them back to a field
unit; and with processing men from affiliated field units who are to be
Training units, which normally bear the same number as the re-
placement units from which they receive troops, give the men their
training and then dispatch them to field units. Infantry training
battalions are organized under infantry training regiments, which
bear the same number as the corresponding infantry replacement
regiments. The same principle applies to artillery and other arms.
Although the replacement unit remains, necessarily, in its home
area, the training unit of the same number has often been moved to
another area or abroad. In the latter case these units were organized
into a type of training division known as a reserve division. Reserve
corps, in turn, are formed from reserve divisions. These reserve
units have been used extensively as occupation troops, but most of them
have recently gone into action as regular divisions.
In some instances, replacement and training units are combined
and then known as "replacement and training units" (Ersatz- und
Ausbildungseinheiten). This is probably done to avoid duplication
of administrative personnel in cases where the training and replacement
units are close enough to each other to be administered jointly.
All replacement units are alike in that they consist of a staff and
one or more recruit, convalescent, and transfer (Marsch) components.
Marschbataillone, or battalions organized for the transfer of
personnel from the replacement area to the theater of operations, have
frequently been encountered in battle when the situation was so critical
that these units had to be thrown in without sending the men to the
several field units for which they were intended.
Components of the training units correspond to those of the field
units they furnish with trained personnel. Thus the fourth company
of an infantry training battalion will be a machine-gun training
company: the reconnaissance training battalion will have cyclist training
troops and cavalry training troops; and the armored reconnaissance
training battalion includes training companies for armored-car crews,
for armored reconnaissance personnel, and, for motorcycle and scout-car
Demonstration units (Lehreinheiten) attached to schools are
composed of selected men with field experience. Occasionally
encountered in battle, they are excellent units. These are usually attached
to one of the four types of schools in the training system of the
1. Schools for training in particular arms or services (Waffenschulen).
2. Schools for officer training (Kriegschulen or Schulen für Fahnenjünker
der Infanterie, Artillerie, usw.)
3. Schools for NCO training (Heeres-Unteroffizierschulen).
4. Schools for specialist training.
The Local Defense Battalion (Landesschützen-Bataillon) is the
basic local defense unit. It, however, is part of the Field Army and
not of the Replacement Army. It is composed of older personnel and
of soldiers temporarily or permanently unfit for field service. These
battalions have hitherto been employed for guard duties within
Germany, as additional support in occupied countries, and for
protection of communications in occupied countries and rear areas of
theaters of operations. Two to six of these battalions are usually
controlled by a regimental staff and called a Local Defense Regiment
(Landesschützen-Regiment). Local defense units are frequently
converted into line of communications units (Sicherungseinheiten).
These also have been encountered in action.
Any of the above units, when encountered in action, are likely to
be considerably reorganized. Their use will probably involve changes
of designation as well as hasty improvisation in the way of
organization, equipment, and grouping into higher echelons.
In addition to all of these army units there are a number of
semimilitary organizations which may be encountered or from which
personnel may be drawn.
The Reinforced Border Control Service (Verstärkter Grenzaufsichtsdienst) is
a new grouping of all frontier organizations under single
control—customs and passport officials, currency control agents,
military police, and Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst) for investigation
of subversive groups and movements. This organization is believed
to be well armed and trained. It is under the control of the SS.
The Landwacht is a semimilitary auxiliary police organization in
rural communities intended to seek out parachutists, enemy airmen
who have been forced to land, spies, saboteurs, escaped prisoners of
war in Germany, etc.
German regular police differ from police in other countries in that
there is more emphasis in their training on marksmanship, discipline,
and training of a military sort. They are under the control of the
SS. In the present war police units have frequently been used as
regular field units.
In addition to these military and semimilitary organizations are
numerous auxiliary and militant party organizations, the General SS
(Allgemeine SS), the Storm Troops (SA), Hitler Youth, and so on,
which may well be drawn upon by the Germans for defense in one
form or another. Members of these groups are likely to be of the
fanatic type who will engage in sniping or guerrilla activities in
areas occupied by troops of the Allies. These auxiliary and party
organizations have been described in more detail in the September
1944 issue of Intelligence Bulletin.
For a more detailed study of units in the German Zone of the
Interior including order of battle
intelligence, see The German
Replacement Army (Ersatzheer), April 1944, a publication of the
Military Intelligence Division, War Department.